gym at hyland

A best run

Saturday had fully exhausted me: I was at a conference for part of it, managed to injure myself there, then went to a movie and grabbed a few groceries, and even later went out for a quick bite for dinner with Steve. I vowed to sit on the couch all day Sunday; I’d been meaning to read a few (small) books, and the physical need to get off my feet and stay in the house would facilitate that nicely.

Around 5pm, my running shoes beckoned. This was not the usual siren call of “run because you ate waffles”,”run or you’ll fall off your training schedule” or even “you know you’re going nuts inside the house all day” but an oddly more playful, seductive tease. “Come out come out wherever you are” or even, “oh, come on. Just head down the block to just wiggle a little.” It’s definitely (just) spring if deciding to run at 5pm seems a little edgy but easily doable. Birds are chirping, the world is emerging from the white blanket, and it’s not dangerous to run with exposed skin or without ice traction assistance.

Plus, ahead would be the rewards of dog park, great new music, and a somewhat goofy outfit.

It was sunny but still only in the mid-40’s, so I donned some light tights, a t-shirt, a rather sturdy windbreaker, and a buff to shield my ears from any wind. By “sturdy” I mean that I never run in this jacket –it’s large, made of tightly woven cotton, and thus reserved for winter skiing– but that wall-o-fiber gave me a little reassurance, even for a short run.

On my iPod shuffle I had loaded up a recent purchase of some choral music. I’d read about it in the weekend paper a few weeks ago & tracked it down because I thought it may work well for my yoga teaching: Rachmaninoff’s
“All-Night Vigil”, performed by Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Klava (here’s a link to it in iTunes). I wasn’t sure it’d be great for the run, but now and then, some classical music surprises me in unexpected contexts. For example, the somewhat classical but entirely atmospheric and really not very rhythmic soundtrack to The Tree of Life (the only redeeming quality of the movie for me was the music) ended up being an amazing soundtrack to an otherwise ho-hum weekday morning run I did last summer in downtown St. Paul.

The route I selected was simple: head northwest until 15 minutes of running happens, then turn around. This means crossing the High Bridge and heading up toward Crocus Hill, likely on Ramsey Hill, which is one of my favorite hill-training spots. This route is usually the start of longer runs for me – either repeats of this hill or something that keeps going westward for a while before turning around to head back.

sourdough buns

The run took as long as the 2nd rising for these

Off I went with these plans and tools. I had a very delicious run!

The first component of yum: there’s a certain freedom that comes with thinking you look a little ridiculous, but feeling protected at the same time.

Then: the 2/3 of a mile or so spent crossing the bridge each way offered great amusement: down below the bridge is Saint Paul’s newest dog park. I think they need to rename this place “High Bridge Dog Party,” because that’s what was going on. It’s a pretty big space, and on a beautiful spring weekend evening there were at least 20 dogs there with their people. The view from directly above (next time I’ll bring a camera, I promise) was a great study in interactions. (added 4/12: here’s the photo I promised, but taken on a less sunny day. Fewer people were out – but not as many fewer as I suspected!)

Lastly: the music! This was very powerful, bold sound. Sure, it was a little comical as accompaniment to labradors sniffing each other’s butts, me spitting as I chugged up Ramsey, and the blowsy billowing of my too-big, bright-red jacket. But for the same reason it was perfect as a celebration of what is: It’s April, life is all around even though there are small melting remainders of That Dark Season and nary a green anything has popped up yet. Still: we survived winter, maybe not in the same state as before the winter, but as a species. Wahoo.

Whoah, maybe it’s time to stop watching Game of Thrones.

hydrangea near high bridge

Hydrangea in February

But seriously, throughout the run, I felt really thankful and the music contributed to that feeling. This was the best run I’ve had in many months! And it was only 32 minutes long. Here’s to moderation, recuperation, and no need to take hydration with you.

Somewhat related: the photo at top was taken at one of my favorite places to run on trails, at Hyland Lake Park Reserve a few weeks ago. The little fitness station cracked me up, it was so full of contradictions, especially with the Closed for Season sign. Here’s to smiles, too.

This post was inspired by Christine’s “Best Run” story, over at Love Life Surf. What a great idea for a post!

Running is just one of perhaps too many themes on this blog, but in the comments here I’d love to hear your “best run” story, be it an actual run, or something else. Has your mundane had a surprise visit of awesome, lately? And how?


4 thoughts on “A best run

  1. I love this post Arah! I love how you described it as a seductive call to come out and play. Those are often the best runs. They don’t have to be long or super intense but everything just clicks together. I’m so glad that you shared this!

  2. misszippy1 says:

    Yep, they don’t have to be intense, long, or anything “extreme” to be good. Loved the visuals I got from reading this!

    Thanks for linking up.

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